Sunday, October 23, 2011

That's an heirloom. You should put it on your family tree.

I already have Christmas on the brain.

I was thinking that it's just me. But clearly all the retail companies have Christmas on the brain too. I noticed this weekend all the ads have Christmas trees and Santa Claus in them now.

So, what's your vote? Should I do the ladder Christmas tree again or try something different?

Did you start that new book?

Book review! This is a monumental book review, because this is book number 40 for the year. Even I feel impressed with myself.

How to Be an American Housewife

This is for my in-person book club this month: How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway.

The story: First this is fiction. It is the story of a Japanese woman who marries an American soldier at the end of World War II. They move to America, and sometime during their first year of marriage he gives her a book called "How to Be an American Housewife" that is written in English and Japanese with tips on how to acclimate to American life and culture. The novel actually takes place when Shoko (the Japanese woman) is old and having health problems and is mainly about her relationship with her daughter and her family that is still in Japan.

The review: The story is a good story of reconciliation. There are flashbacks to Shoko's past as a young woman in Japan, and it is an interesting view of the culture. It is also interesting to see what has happened to her family.

While the story is good, the writing isn't very good. It is pretty flat and stilted. I kept wondering if she was trying to imitate a dialect, even in Shoko's thoughts, but she wasn't.

I finished my eight-week class last week. Heather and I both said that I needed to do something special as a celebration. Heather had tons of suggestions for how to splurge, but after thinking about it I decided all I wanted to do was lay on my couch and read a book for mindless entertainment. 

Heat Rises (Nikki Heat 3)

So I got Heat Rises by Richard Castle.

The story: This is the third installment of the Nikki Heat detective series that goes with the TV show Castle. So once again Nikki Heat teams up with Jameson Rook to solve a murder. 

The review: 
Here are the things that I love about this series:
1. It's hilarious.
2. There are tons of references to the TV show, like Castle making all kinds of references to himself in the story. 
3. It's kind of fun to see Castle and Beckett sort of get together, since it probably will never happen in the TV show.
4. There are tons of pop-culture references, which are just funny too. 

If you really wanted to surprise him, why don't you do something like clean your apartment?

I did a "grandma clean" yesterday. If anyone has been thinking it would be fun to visit me, now would be a great time. I can have the airbed set up in no time.

Isn't it amazing how a super clean house can make everything seem better?

I also decorated for Halloween. Cute, right?

Baby blanket! Get it off, get it off...

The finished product! Finally!

This is the blanket for Carla Junior. I undid it twice, so this is actually blanket number three. But I put it in the mail, and told Carla Junior (metaphorically... or telepathically, take your pick) "Ok baby, you can come now!" 

Maybe she's just waiting for the package to arrive. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

I was wrong! This is the musing-out-loud part. Do I actually need to be here?

I was listening to one of my podcasts, and it was an interview with Sherry Turkle who studies and writes about technology. One of the things she said that caught my attention was that social media -- especially facebook -- has given people a forum for sharing things, but that it has also become a place where people don't feel like they can share things. So she interviewed someone and the girl said that she didn't feel like she could post on facebook that her dog died. It just didn't seem like the place.

It was an interesting interview. But I really bring it up to explain the long silence. This isn't the place.

So now I will treat you to a random collection of musings that I have had over the past couple of weeks. Maybe this can be a set of ramblings that Carla will enjoy again.

I have been bringing the same thing to work for lunch every day all semester long. (We have officially completed week 8 -- halfway!). I bring a salad. I start with spinach and sometimes kale. Then I add tomato, cucumber, daikon radish, bell pepper, and peas. I bring another container with brown rice in it. At lunch time, I heat up the rice and then dump it on the salad. Everything is dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

It's good. Now, let me be clear. I know it's not an exciting lunch, but I find it quite tasty. 

But here is what I have noticed. 

When I eat with my coworkers, they watch me open up my salad and they say, "Oh, that looks healthy." 

At first I was like, "Yup. It's good." 

But then I realized I was getting funny looks when I said it was good. And then I listened more closely. And I discovered they aren't saying, Wow, what a great looking lunch, how delicious. They are saying, ew, healthy, how can you eat that? 

And here I thought a salad was more normal than.... I don't know how to finish that sentence. Anything else I eat? Tuna straight from the can? Squash? Soup?

As I have been driving around town, I keep hearing commercials recruiting applicants for jobs at the CIA. The job title is something like Clandestine Services Operator, but I know what that really means. It means a spy. 

I've been so tempted to apply. 

I love my subscription to Entertainment Weekly. A few weeks ago they had an indepth interview with Brad Pitt. 

The best part of the interview was the very end. The interviewer asked Brad what he thought about the ways he has popped up in popular culture recently. He started with "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy. 

Brad's response: "It's just unfortunate that my last name rhymes with S#%@."

I had a new funny story about old people at the gym. But it's not coming to me right now. 

And maybe that's a sign....

Do you have  those terrible movies that you watched in college and they still pop up in your mind every once in a while?

I keep thinking about that Adam Sandler movie where he somehow gets a little boy and teaches the kid all kinds of disgusting things and uses him to pick up girls. None of that is relevant, but at the beginning he lets the kid do whatever he wants. He doesn't make him take a bath or wash his favorite clothes. So then the kindergarten teacher stops Adam Sandler one day and tells him that his kid is the smelly kid in class. 

Terrible movie.